Ky. court rejects parole for prison lifer

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) - The Kentucky Supreme Court has declined to order a man serving a life sentence be paroled from prison, concluding the law doesn't allow it and the inmate misunderstood his plea agreement.

The decision on Thursday came in the case of 54-year-old Donald Terry Bartley. Bartley claimed prosecutors promised he would be released when first eligible if he pleaded guilty in the 1985 killing of a woman and attack on her father Letcher County.

In an unsigned opinion, the court concluded that parole is "at most a privilege, not a right."

Writing separately, Justice Bill Cunningham questioned whether the parole board has the authority to order someone to serve out a life sentence.

Bartley testified against Roger Dale Epperson and Benny Lee Hodge, who were convicted and sentenced to death.

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